Forsythe claims infield role with Padres
It's hard not to like the way San Diego Padres second baseman Logan Forsythe plays baseball.
Forsythe is the type of athletic infielder that offers his manager versatility and ability regardless of his position on the field. Forsythe can play third base, shortstop and second base, his most frequent position with San Diego.
The 25-year-old is 6-foot-1 and weighs 201 pounds. It doesn't seem there is an unwanted extra ounce of fat on Forsythe's body. He looks like a prototypical baseball player -- fit and very well conditioned.
Forsythe came to the Padres as their supplemental first selection (No. 46 overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He had attended the University of Arkansas, where he primarily played third base. He was a member of the United States team in the 2007 Pan American Games.
In his Minor League career with San Diego, Forsythe played parts of five seasons at every level of the Padres' system. He compiled a career Minor League batting average of .284 covering 1,405 plate appearances. He consistently had similar seasons at each level of play.
Forsythe doesn't have any overwhelming tool. He doesn't have tremendous power to win a game with one swing of the bat. He probably won't win a batting title with a tremendous batting average, and he doesn't have world-class speed.
What Forsythe does have, however, is the ability to bring a well-balanced Major League average (to above average) skill set to every game he plays. Forsythe will flash some power on occasion, he will have a respectable batting average and he'll steal bases. He won't repeat mistakes. He's just a solid competitor who will try to beat the opposition day in and day out.
Forsythe caught my attention with his very disciplined approach at the plate. He will not give away an at-bat.
Forsythe uses very good pitch recognition and patience as the foundation for his approach to hitting. He has the ability to wait for a pitch he feels he can handle. Forsythe isn't fooled often and he knows how to adjust to a pitcher's repertoire. His plate coverage helps him drive the ball to the opposite field with relative ease. He hits a great number of very loud line drives.
Forsythe's outstanding hitting mechanics result in offensive success. So far this season as San Diego's starting second baseman, Forsythe is hitting .282 with five home runs and 24 RBIs. He has stolen eight bases in 10 attempts. His on base percentage is a very respectable .352. None of his statistics this year are spectacular, except for a couple that caught my eye. He is hitting a whopping .388 against left-handed pitching. He is hitting .313 in September. Overall, Forsythe is having a very solid season.
During the Padres' recent road trip to Phoenix, I saw Forsythe hit some smoking ropes to right and right-center. Not all fell in for a hit, but he was scorching the ball.
He has worked tirelessly with Padres coaches to get the most out of both his offense and defense. Not all players spend the time refining their game as Forsythe has done.
Forsythe has a very level, quiet swing. He doesn't try to do too much with every pitch. He seems very satisfied to make solid contact and hit the ball to the holes provided by the defense. Forsythe is very good at using his hands and wrists to guide his swing. He doesn't really generate power with his hips or lower body. His swing is quick, but not eye-popping or lightning fast. The ball jumps off his bat due to a consistent and highly efficient extension at the finish of his swing.
Knowing his own limitations and waiting for his pitch have resulted in Forsythe consistently making good contact. He has struck out only 52 times in 332 plate appearances so far this season. He has walked 27 times. With his very good eye at the plate, he could stand to take more bases on balls.
Defensively, Forsythe is still a work in progress at second base. He has an ability to make very difficult plays looks easy. However, I have seen easy plays made difficult. He has to trust his natural ability and play naturally. He has talent and skill. Now it's just a matter of time until all the defensive pieces fall in place. The hiccups are few and far between, and I don't mean them to be more than a blip in an otherwise sound defensive evaluation.
Forsythe has very good first-step quickness, good range and a solid, Major League arm from third, short or second. Hard-sliding runners bearing down don't intimidate him.
This season, Forsythe has played 77 games at second base, five at shortstop and four at third base for San Diego. He has made only 12 errors in 351 total chances. Despite those few moments of difficulty with some ground balls, I believe Forsythe will become a solid second baseman.
There have been some bumps in the road to Forsythe's Major League success. For example, so far in his career he has suffered a broken pinky, knee surgery and a broken sesamoid bone in his left foot that required surgery. He has overcome all of those physical obstacles and is now healthy and thriving.
The Padres are using a number of young and highly talented players as they continue to improve. They have played very well as the season has progressed, giving contenders fits and playing fundamentally sound baseball. Forsythe fits extremely well in the organizational composition.
If he continues to show an ability to hit hot line drives to the opposite field with excellent hitting mechanics, Forsythe should be a Padres starting infielder for years to come.
I just like the way Logan Forsythe plays baseball. I think the Padres do, too.
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.